Should he come back or should he stay out?
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a name that means a plethora of things for cricket fanatics from all over the world. For some, he oozes the emotion of love and while for some others, he is a revered figure.
However, there are also people who dislike the idea of having him in the Indian team because of his decline in recent years.
But the truth is, MS Dhoni is a legend. A player so smart in the art of cricket and possessed with such a brilliant mind that he has outfoxed a lot of adversaries during his time on the field.
And as a wicketkeeper, there was perhaps no-one better in his era.
Currently, he is out of the Indian team and hasn’t been a part of the Men in Blue ever since the World Cup ended earlier this year. His future in unclear as he wasn’t called up against Bangladesh in the recently-concluded T20I series nor was he selected in the squad for the T20I and ODI squad against West Indies – putting his future with the Men in Blue under more scrutiny.
However, according to the president of BCCI Sourav Ganguly, there is utmost clarity in the situation regarding Dhoni as he assured that the think-tanks of the Indian know exactly how to deal with the situation but refrained from revealing anything in public.
“No no, there is clarity, but certain things cannot be said on public platform. There is absolute clarity on MS Dhoni and you’ll find out in time,” Ganguly said on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony.
“There’s transparency between the Board, MS and the selectors. When you deal with such champions — MS Dhoni is an unbelievable athlete for India — certain things have to be kept within the closed doors. It’s very transparent and everybody knows where they stand.”
Not much needs to be said about the impact of Dhoni in the history of Indian cricket. He was the first captain to have ever won the T20I World Cup when he led the Men in Blue to glory in the inaugural T20I World Cup in 2007.
Dhoni also led his side to the number one position in Test rankings in December 2009—just a little over a year after being named the permanent captain of the Test side.
He followed it up by winning the World Cup in 2011 as the captain of the team and, as it turned out, a final gift for Sachin Tendulkar, who played his last World Cup in that edition.
Indeed, the Master Blaster heaped praise on Dhoni for his innate ability to stay calm under pressure—which, as everyone in the world of cricket knows, is Dhoni’s greatest attribute.
However, father time spares none and Dhoni began to lose his sharpness from 2015. By then, he had already retired from Test cricket and wasn’t at his best in other formats.
Dhoni made a name for himself as a finisher but his strike-rates since 2015 ODIs reveal that he wasn’t the same player as he once was. His best strike-rate in a year since 2015 was in that very year when he hit 86.8 runs-per-100 balls.
In 2018, it went down to the lowest point of 71.4 before getting slightly back up to 82.3 this year.
His numbers in T20Is have been better but the truth is that Dhoni has often been guilty of leaving it too late to get a move on with the bat while chasing. There was once a time he almost always got the job done but in recent years, after taking his time to settle down, he often got out when trying to accelerate his innings.
Nevertheless, Dhoni is a champion and the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League will give the management the perfect opportunity to make a call on the former captain.
He might not be as sharp as before but his cunningness and speed behind the stumps alone make him an asset—as we saw in the T20I series against Bangladesh when Rishabh Pant didn’t come up with the best of performances behind the wickets.
So in that regard, there is nothing much for him to prove. It is his batting, however, that is under focus here and the 2020 Indian Premier League will be the perfect platform for him to launch a comeback.
Should he have a great outing in the tournament, there is a good chance for him to come back to the Indian team. But if he doesn’t, then it might just be curtains to the international career of one of the greatest minds the world of cricket has ever seen.